The New School Dhaka, a private school, needs over Tk12 lakh monthly to conduct its academic activities.
With regular tuition fees from 200 students, the English medium school had been running at full capacity until the highly infectious Covid-19 broke out in the country – and schools were closed to check its massive spread.
It somehow managed to pay a small portion of March salaries to teachers and staff but failed to make payments for April as it had almost no income for over the last two months.
Most of the private schools have been undergoing a similar monetary crunch across the country while their teachers and staff have been leading an utterly grim life. Private school association leaders fear that many schools may even close unless the government extends its helping hand to them.
The teachers and staff of around 40,000 kindergarten schools did not get their salaries for March and April. Further, it seems they will not likely be paid before the novel coronavirus stops its rampage.
The country has around 55,000 private educational institutions, including nursery schools, that employ about 10 lakh teachers and staff.
Jaharat Ara, a senior English teacher of The New School Dhaka, said the lives of 42 teachers and staff of the school have become disastrous without payments – as they all reside in rented homes in the capital.
Sabuj Ahmed, principal of the school, said he got only 15 percent of tuition and other fees from students. "However, I have to pay much more money in rent to the house owner. How will I pay salaries to teachers?"
"If the novel coronavirus continues and unless the government helps us, I cannot run the school," he said.
Meanwhile, the English Medium School Association of Bangladesh has requested government incentives to aid them in running schools and paying salaries to teachers and employees during the novel coronavirus emergency.
Convener of the association, Quazi Taif Sadat, said they sent an application to Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni in this regard on May 2.
"Though we are operating online classes, many guardians are not paying tuition fees. Under the present circumstances, we cannot even press them for the same. So, we are seeking soft loans from the government," Taif said.
Mizanur Rahman Sarker, secretary general of the Bangladesh Kindergartens Association, said about seven lakh teachers and staff are working to ensure quality education in the country. However, all of them are in a severe financial crisis.
"We cannot endure the cries for help from our teachers and staff. So, we have sought Tk500 crore from the government for their very survival," he added.
Hasina Akhter, founder principal of Shapla Academy, said she has 650 students and 55 teachers at her nursery school. She had some savings but the money has been spent to pay the school's rent.
"Now, I have no money to pay our teachers and employees. If the virus stays longer, I will have to shut down my long-running institution that was established in 2003," she explained.
"It is the government's duty to help us because we serve the nation. Yes, we get money from students but we teach many for free," she added.
Mosharef Hossain, a teacher of Jurain Ideal Kindergarten, said many people have a misunderstanding about kindergartens. "Basically, we get only a little amount from kindergartens."
"We also move from house to house to tutor students so that we can lead a decent life with the extra income. However, that, too, has stopped now. We cannot even press the authorities for payment as we know they cannot do anything," he continued.
"As I do not have any savings, I do not know how I shall arrange for food or pay the house rent," he said, adding that the teachers cannot even stretch out their arms to get government relief.
Bangladesh School Samity President Md Nazrul Islam Rony said private educational institutions and their teachers and staff are passing a crucial time. Many schools will be shut down if they do not get incentives from the government.
Md Mahbub Hossain, secretary (secondary and higher education division) of the Education Ministry, told The Business Standard that they have not decided yet to allocate any money for private educational institutions.